Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What to Teach in Student Ministry

A recent post about what to teach in student ministries had a number of insightful thoughts.  I think the suggestions work whether one has a traditional youth ministry or if one is looking primarily to the family to do the teaching.  Here are the first two points:
(1) I believe that Christology should be at the center of our teaching.
All of us around the table that day would affirm the need to present the Gospel regularly in and through our teaching. But this simply means that the plan of salvation is presented regularly. That students “know” how to be saved. But that’s not really what I mean by having Jesus at the center. I believe you can give the plan of salvation regularly, and not have Jesus at the center of your teaching. What I mean is that Jesus, pure and simple, should be presented constantly. Our teaching should be saturated with Jesus. We should be telling stories about Jesus. We should be talking about Jesus teachings. We should be presenting Jesus’ character. We should be discussing Jesus’ death and resurrection. We should be teaching about this second-coming to judge. Christology should be the center and serve as the central criterion for all our teaching. I don’t think we can teach too much of Jesus. Some might protest and say that students will become bored if all we discuss is Jesus. I think that has more to do with the how than the what.

(2) I believe that we should not just teach Jesus haphazardly or selectively. 

We should teach our students a Gospel. They should know at least one Gospel story inside and out – and if possible more. Not a truncated, externally pieced together set of ideas about Jesus. But actually an authorized story of Jesus, one of the Four Gospels. Students should know the gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Or at least one or two of them by the end of their Student Ministry years. I believe students think they know a lot about Jesus and the gospel. But truth be told, they don’t know intimately a New Testament Gospel. I deal with College students all the time who grew up in youth ministries who know fragments, but have not been taught a whole Jesus. How much do we teach Jesus? How much do we teach the Gospel – again this is not a reference to the plan of salvation.
Here’s a suggestion: Each segment of the SM takes a Gospel and its their job to instill that Gospel into the students. I would suggest this plan:
  • Middle School : Mark
  • High School : John
  • College : Luke or Matthew
The full post can be found HERE.